The ultimate guide to coconut (know your nectar from your aminos?)

By Steph |

I Quit Sugar - The ultimate guide to coconut
Photo by: Image via Thinkstock

It’s little secret we’re a little coconuts for coconut here at IQS.

They’re an excellent source of saturated fat (not the devil you think it is!), as well as being very high in anti-fungal, anti-viral lauric acid. They’re also a balanced protein, high in dietary fibre and rich in many essential vitamins and minerals. Win, win WIN!

There are a bazillion (slight exaggeration) different forms of coconut on the supermarket shelves. And you guys have told us it can get a bit confusing when it comes to which is used for what. Let’s crack it open

Coconut oil

Is an edible oil extracted from the meat of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm. Use it in baking, chuck it in smoothies, rub it on your skin… there’s no end to the ways you can use this stuff! Just opt for organic, cold-pressed, virgin versions when choosing your brand.

Coconut butter.

Is the flesh of the coconut which as been ground into a butter. It’s creamier than the oil, and makes a great dairy-free spread.

Coconut flakes.

Are the flaked meat of the coconut. They can be enjoyed raw or lightly toasted and make a great textural addition to recipes.

Desiccated coconut. 

Is coconut meat that has been finely shredded then dried. Shredded coconut is similar to desiccated coconut but has a coarser texture.

Coconut water. 

Is the tasty, clear liquid inside young coconuts. It is full of 5-key electrolytes making it great for hydration. Coconut water also comes bottled or packaged for convenience. Beware of flavoured or sweetened products. They should contain 100 per cent coconut water and nothing else.

Coconut milk. 

Is the liquid that comes from the grated meat of a coconut. The rich taste of the milk can be attributed to the high saturated fat and oil content. Always choose the full-fat version. Coconut milk is great added to curries but also makes a delicious dairy-free milk alternative. Drizzle it on your porridge or use it as a base for smoothies.

Coconut cream.

Is very similar to coconut milk but contains less water giving it a thicker, paste-like texture. Use it much like you would coconut milk in all types of sweet and savoury dishes.

Coconut flour.

is made by dehydrating coconut meat, and then grinding it into a gluten-free flour. Coconut flour can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in baking and savoury dishes, but be mindful that coconut flour soaks up liquid like a sponge. You may have to up your liquid ingredients to accommodate.

Coconut aminos.

Coconut aminos is a sauce made from coconut sap. Rich, salty and slightly sweet, you can use it like you would a tamari or soy sauce.

Coconut sugar.

Is made by making several slits into the bud of a coconut tree and collecting the sap. The sap is then boiled until it thickens and solidifies. Coconut sugar is nearly 50 per cent fructose, making it a no-go if you are avoiding or quitting sugar.

Coconut nectar.

Is much the same as coconut sugar but in a syrup form similar to agave or honey. As mentioned above, avoid this ingredient if you are quitting sugar.

What is your favourite way to use coconut? 

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